What to do in Thessaloniki in 3 days?
Are you ready to uncover the “other” side of Greece, where houses and buildings are not colored white and blue, but still make you feel adventurous? Where endless blue shades are just around the corner of eclectic streets crowded with young people from all around the world? Where with every step you will unfold centuries-old stories from diverse cultures carved in city walls and cobblestone alleys? Prepare to take notes, because we are about to share the special 3 days Thessaloniki itinerary with insider tips about things to do and see in the city.
Meet Thessaloniki, the “co-capital” of Greece and an eternal bond between West and East. Named after princess Thessalonike, the sister of the greatest ancient emperor Alexander the Great, the city is the cradle of cultural diversity and rich, mischievous history. Its easy-going atmosphere, intact beauty and a lengthy list of fun things to do are the main reasons why you should choose to lose yourself in colorful streets of Thessaloniki. Its hospitability and openness will give you a feeling of a home away from home, so if you are planning a visit to this marvelous and inspiring city, do not worry, 3 days in Thessaloniki are more than enough to enjoy its vibrant and youthful way of life, and we promise you – it will be love not just at first, but on every other sight!
Welcome on board Grekaddicts, the adventure starts in 3, 2, 1…
How to get to Thessaloniki?
Before the adventure starts, let’s finish with the necessary information about transportation first! Due to the fact that it is located on mainland Greece, Thessaloniki is easily accessible by almost all means of transportation, including plane, bus, train and car.
When it comes to travel by air, Thessaloniki “Makedonia” Airport is directly connected with more than 60 cities around the globe. Upon your arrival, you will need transport from the airport to the city center, which is located approximately 20km away. You can choose between grabbing a cab and taking a bus – depending on your needs and preferences. The taxi stop is placed right on the exit of the Arrivals terminal, and the price of the ride is around 20 euros, depending on your desired destination. In case you want to book your cab in advance, we got you covered! You can contact us and simply book a vehicle for up to 8 people that will wait for you at the airport. When it comes to bus lines, across the airport building you will find a bus stop, and by hopping on line 78 in 30 minutes you will find yourself in the heart of Thessaloniki’s downtown, Aristotelus Square. For detailed information about transportation to Thessaloniki’s city center, you can check our guide.
How to go around the city center of Thessaloniki?
One of the best things about Thessaloniki is that almost every part of the city is approachable on foot! Walking is what we sincerely recommend to you since it brings this special surprising moment where right next to this fancy café that you are trying to reach you see an archeological landmark, or while climbing the streets of the old part of the city you come across an old city walls hundreds of years old.
Of course, there are other ways of going around and exploring what things are there to do in Thessaloniki. Public transportation is well-organized and the whole city is connected with bus lines. Tickets cost 1e (for students, this price amounts 50 cents) and can be purchased in almost every kiosk, or in vending machines placed inside the buses. A detailed schedule and routes can be found on link.
Taxi stops are located all over the city and licensed taxi drivers can be recognized by driving blue cars. Grab a cab at taxi stop or simply download the BEAT app, pin your location and wait for your taxi to come. The start of the ride is 1.3 euros, and the minimum price of the ride amounts 3.5 euros.
For all the adventurers and outdoor activity lovers, you can rent bikes and limes, and wheel into your 3 days adventure in Thessaloniki. Do not forget to put helmets on – safety comes first!
Day 1 of 3 days Thessaloniki itinerary
Skip breakfast and…
…join our Food and Culture tour! We know that every good story starts with delicious food, so pack your things for today’s adventure ‘cause we have prepared a special treat for you! There are many fun things to do in Thessaloniki, but if you are a real foodie who believes that cuisine is the backbone of one culture, but is also curious to acquire knowledge of how locals here live, then this tour is something for you. Our Thessaloniki Food and Culture tour is tailored for the true cuisine enthusiasts who are also interested in the background stories about traditional dishes and behind the scene experiences. A licensed local host will guide you on the road of discovering new dimensions of unique flavors and comprehend history behind them. For 4 hours, you will be introduced to the staples of Greek cuisine who, believe us, are an absolute must when visiting Thessaloniki and whose tastes will remain imprinted as the most valuable memories from this itinerary.
Visit the best museums of Thessaloniki
As we have already mentioned, Thessaloniki is known for its cultural blend and diversity dating from the Old era. In a clash of Ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empire, the identity of the city was shaped and is being evoked in stirring exhibitions of heritage of remarkable museums.
For art and history devotees looking for the best things to do in Thessaloniki, here is the list of the top museums that you should not miss! Information about exhibitions, prices of tickets and working hours are available on official websites of the museums that are linked in the text below.
*Insider tip: You can combine visits to more than one museum on this list since the distance between them is small and walkable!
White Tower Museum of Thessaloniki
Being a historic edifice which is a symbol of Thessaloniki, White Tower is a compulsory item on your 3 days in Thessaloniki schedule. Built in the 15th century, it was used for defense of pirates and in later years was converted to prison where prisoners were cruelly executed. Today, the tower is open to the public and part of this establishment is transformed into the city museum. Visit it and travel back in time through authentic sounds, realistic images, and multimedia that captured the essence of Thessaloniki from Old age up until now.
Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki
Centuries of Byzantine culture and history are saved from oblivion and presented in this modern facility of the Museum of Byzantine Culture. Exhibition place is divided into several rooms and filled with imposing paintings, wonderful mosaics and rare objects such as books and jewelry, that unravel the beauty of the city’s Byzantine past.
Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
Divided into a few thematic units, this museum is a picturesque representation of Thessaloniki’s historical treasury. Unique pieces of art from Roman, Ancient Greek and Byzantine period are the reason why this museum is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thessaloniki.
Macedonia Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki
If you prefer modern and up-to-date art, don’t worry, this one is for you!
Macedonia Museum of Contemporary Art is founded by a group of art visionaries in 1979 and has been a crucial starting point for the development of contemporary art in Greece. It is home to works of art from eminent Greek and foreign artists that will fascinate admirers of contemporary art.
Evenings in Thessaloniki
There is something truly magical about Thessaloniki evenings. Vibrant but at the same time peaceful, colored with the most beautiful warm sunset colors, the city gets a special beauty in this period of the day. When the sun comes down, it is the time to unveil the party side of Thessaloniki, the city that never sleeps. Every year, more than 150.000 students from all around the world choose to spend their memorable uni days in Thessaloniki due to its friendly, easy-going environment and endearing spirit. This youthful town is jam-packed with modern bars and cafes that make Thessaloniki’s nightlife vivid and nights unforgettable. No matter what time of the day or night it is, where is always what to do in Thessaloniki. If you need the help of a local guide, take a look at our Thessaloniki Walking Evening tour, a showcase of city’s nightlife presented to you by the locals themselves.
Which are the 5 Best Bars in Thessaloniki?
In case you prefer to explore on your own – no biggie!
- If you decide to take a stroll in Ladadika district, the epicenter of the city’s fun, during summertime freshen up on magnificent rooftops such as Margarita or Vanilla and enjoy breath-taking views of Thessaloniki.
- Feel the music and laid-back atmosphere in a cozy, yet vivacious Mitropoleus street crowded with wine and cocktail bars. Raise your glass of finest Greek wine or aromatic signature cocktail and cheer to little life pleasures in ARC bar.
- In Nikis street, also known as Nea Paralia, right next to the sea you will find Ensayar The Four Seasons Bar. Its nature-inspired, wondrously decorated interior combined with the upbeat atmosphere will spoil all of the senses of real hedonists.
- For unique Thessaloniki experience take a look at the city from an exceptional vantage point called Skyline Cafe Bar. Located at the top of the 76-meters tall OTE Tower and hidden from the city bustle, Skyline bar is the only rotating bar with 360 degrees panoramic view of Thessaloniki. Grab a seat by the window and get lost in dulcet sounds of piano while having the whole city on your palm.
And remember: whatever your choice for the night is, we assure you – amusement is guaranteed!
Day 2 of 3 days Thessaloniki itinerary
Start your day with Running ….
Kalimera, guys! It is the second day of our magical 3 days Thessaloniki itinerary.
If you are a sporty early-bird who enjoys outdoor activities but also exploring the monuments of peregrin city, lace-up your sneakers and put on a comfy outfit – we are going running! Running and Hiking tour is perfect for visitors who want both to stay active on their trip and meet the history of Thessaloniki. Our experienced guide-runner will pick you up from your indicated place and once you hit the downtown, the 2-hour long adventure starts! Gather your friends, family or work team and experience this amazing hike and run through history.
..or skip to breakfast in Thessaloniki!
Ok, so you have decided to skip morning running, but as we all know you must not skip breakfast.
Luring scents of freshly-baked pastries that are spreading through the city will help you in the pursuit of a perfect place to eat in Thessaloniki. Charming pastry shops with an extensive selection of sweet and salty traditional treats can be found in every part of Thessaloniki and will please even the most demanding gourmet desires. Decisions can be hard, so we thought that it would be helpful to write down some breakfast recommendations.
Here is the list of top 5 food to eat for breakfast in Thessaloniki:
Bougatsa – puffy, yet crispy pastry consisted of phyllo layers filled with sweet or salty garnish. Salty lovers should indulge in creamy taste of cheese, while sweet-tooths can try vanilla flavor dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Spanakopita – if you are a lover of healthy and nutritious food, say no more! Grab this spinach pie and dive into a savory, comforting taste of spinach combined with feta cheese.
Koulouri – or traditional sesame bread rings. The most popular Greek breakfast that can be found in bakeries, but also in streets, sold by smiling local vendors.
Peinirli – soft, boat-shaped pizza’s dough topped with vegetables, melted cheese and cold cuts. Pizza for breakfast was never more fun!
Tsoureki – the most famous pastry in Thessaloniki and a perfect choice for the ones searching for sweet breakfast. Choose between various chocolate frostings and enjoy this freshly baked sweet loaf.
Pair these pastries with a cup of Greek coffee or Greek yogurt, sit on the benches at the Waterfront and have breakfast next to the sea. Voila, you are a true local now!
Make the most out of your trip to Thessaloniki
Take a day trip from Thessaloniki to Vergina and Pella
There are many nearby places that you can visit on fun day trips from Thessaloniki. Situated only 70km away from Thessaloniki, Vergina is the capital of ancient Macedonian kingdom that is, along with village Pella definitely worth a visit. The excavation of Vergina village in the 20th century is considered to be the most significant archaeological discovery in Greek culture and today is under the protection of UNESCO. Once your feet step on this ancient ground, you will come across historic artefacts constructed in Old ages that tell a story of everyday life in the ancient Macedonian kingdom. Ruins of the acropolis, theatre and palace from ancient times, intact royal tombs decorated with fresco paintings and remarkable museums will tell you a story about the greatest Greek emperor from all times-Alexander the Great. Book your Vergina and Pella private tour and take a ride back in time to this famous era.
or… Explore Thessaloniki in depth
If you decide to spend your day cruising through Thessaloniki’s vibrant streets, we have prepared a list of top places to visit when it comes to this charming town!
Ladadika district is a real representation of the Greek way of life. It is always noisy and busy and filled with a real Greek atmosphere. Its cobblestone streets are always crowded with laughter, music and scents of freshly prepared traditional food. Step in any restaurant, order Greek salad, ouzo and traditional mezes and taste the Greek life at its best!
Place where modern meets ancient and where the free spirit is almost tangible in the air. Here you always have what to do, no matter what time is it in Thessaloniki. From romantic jewelry shops, eclectic boutiques and souvenir shops, the most popular fast foods in Thessaloniki to old city diggings, Navarinou is definitely worthy of taking a peek!
Nestled in the upper part of the city, the Old Town of Thessaloniki can be seen the best when looking from the middle of Aristotelus square. It requires some walking and exploring, but should not be missed in your 3 days Thessaloniki itinerary. The Old Town carries a story of Ottoman and Byzantine periods, saved from a Great Fire that occurred in 17th century. Step into its stone-paved streets and walk right next to the ruins of the old Castle and city walls. Take a walk to the Trigonio Tower, and take a deep breath while admiring the view that reaches the peaks of Mount Olympus on the other side of the bay. Visit the Church of Agios Nikolaos Orphanos, where except magnificent frescoes you can enjoy its enchanting garden.
Thessaloniki’s downtown consists of two main streets: Nikis avenue located right next to the sea, and two main streets – Tsimiski and Egnatia. Take a stroll in these two shopping havens and buzz around shops of well-known international and Greek brands. If you want to enjoy shopping in Thessaloniki, but you are more interested in high-end labels, take any right turn towards the sea and you will come across Mitropoleus street, home of biggest names in the fashion industry.
Afternoon adventure on the streets of Thessaloniki
You have already explored the city, and now you are searching what fun and outlandish things are there to do in Thessaloniki? Join us in our Missing Treasure hunt tour, where you and your mates will search for clues and missing pieces to complete the puzzle and solve the mystery of thrilling riddle. And the best part is-the search is happening right on the streets of Thessaloniki. Prepare yourself, Sherlock, it’s game time!
Eat by the sea
Wandering around can be exhausting and we need fuel to continue our Thessaloniki’s adventure. And trust us, this is the tastiest fuel you will try.
For Greeks, a meal is not just plain food, but the whole warm, family-gathering experience. In the past, Greek cuisine has been influenced by East and West cultures and right these influences shaped it into one of the most exciting and delightful cuisines in Europe. Prepared with a wide range of fruits and vegetables, with love and passion traditional Greek dishes do have a special flavor when tasted in Thessaloniki. For yummy meals in the city center, you shall visit Ladadika district and find some of the best places to eat in Thessaloniki, such as restaurants Foul tou Meze and Tiganies & Sxares. If you prefer cozy eateries hidden from the noisy downtown, head to Kalamaria municipality, where tavernas Gialos and Hamodrakas will give you a memorable pleasure of Greek food!
Day 3 of 3 days Thessaloniki itinerary
Rise and shine, guys! Do not snooze your alarms, it is the last day of our 3 days Thessaloniki itinerary. Since you have already read our breakfast recommendations, you are now an expert when it comes to morning bites, so take away your breakfast and freddo espresso/freddo cappuccino and sail into the day full of excitement and exploring.
*Insider tip: breakfast tastes much better if you have it sitting next to Umbrellas on the Thessaloniki Waterfront 😉
Day trips from Thessaloniki
Wondering what else is there to do in Thessaloniki? Many lovely places wait to be unraveled in Thessaloniki’s neighborhood, distanced just a few hours drive from the city center. Hikers and outdoorsy sorts can consider a day trip to magical Mount Olympus, home of the Greek gods and believed throne of Zeus. Mountain today has gorgeous nature and wonderful landscapes that are a perfect getaway from the city’s jam.
If you are into exploring other cities in Thessaloniki’s neighborhood, then Kavala is the perfect choice! Kavala or Neapolis, as it was named upon establishment, is one of the most picturesque cities in northern Greece, divided into two parts – Old and New City. Wander around its alleys and explore Byzantine bastion in the old city, and enjoy modern, busy streets of the new part of the city. No matter what time of the year is, Kavala is vivacious all the time – right next to the sea you will find many cafes and tavernas, always crowded with locals and tourists.
On the other hand, you can find various Thessaloniki day tours via Grekaddict website. Our choice for day 3 of Thessaloniki itinerary is Meteora, a rare geological phenomenon that survived even the hardest times from early centuries to today, keeping the Hellenic culture and religion alive. These unique rock formations stir up not only nature enthusiasts but every visitor that comes close and takes a look at miraculous giant towers. Explore the sacred region of Meteora monasteries and learn history old for more than 1000 years. Hop on the train from Thessaloniki to Kalambaka and join us in our Meteora Day Trip by Train.
Wine and olive oil tasting tours in Thessaloniki
Don’t worry gourmets, treats section in our 3 days escapade in Thessaloniki is not finished yet! Greece is known as the land of sun and sea, the reason why the country has the perfect climate for olives and grapes breeding. Wine tasting tour in winery Ktima Gerovassilliou will give you the inside look on stunning vineyards, vinification process and private wine museum and cellars. Visitors will have a chance to taste 8 types of local wine accompanied with hors d’oeuvres and indulge in a spectacular fusion of flavors. Olive oil tasting tour is all about discovering Greek liquid gold and special techniques of its tasting. Are you ready to pick up knowledge about various kinds of olives? Book your place and grab a unique opportunity to become an olive expert!
Discover Halkidiki during summer in Thessaloniki
If you visit Thessaloniki during summertime, do not miss a chance to enjoy idyllic, sandy beaches and crystal clear, turquoise water. Halkidiki peninsula is considered to be the jewel of the Greek mainland and is the most popular holiday destination of northern Greece. Due to its unusual shape, it is divided into three fingers, where every finger offers different amenities.
Kassandra (the first finger) has lots of exotic beaches and is perfect for fun-seekers and party lovers. Traditional villages combined with luxurious resorts, wide beaches filled with cozy beach bars and family-owned tavernas and various activities that it offers will amaze every visitor of Kassandra.
Sithonia (the second finger) is known for its authentic, untouched beauty and hidden coves. Escape the city’s noise, lose yourself among pine forests leaned on endless blue shore and embrace the Sithonia’s wonderful nature.
Mount Athos (the third finger) is a closed, monastic region that can be visited only by men with special authorization. Despite this, you can admire this beauty from the sea, since many boat trips around Athos are organized.
Which are the best beaches to visit in Halkidiki?
1. Xenia beach, Kassandra
2. Orange beach, Sithonia
3. Lime beach, Kassandra
4. Tigania beach, Sithonia
5. Alikes beach, Ammouliani
Mount Athos and Blue Lagoon Cruise
If you want to experience sensational views of Mount Athos and listen to the history of this sacred place, join us in our Mount Athos and Blue Lagoon Cruise. Relaxing boat ride combined with scenic views on one of the most beautiful places of the peninsula is an inimitable experience that should not be missed during your visit to Halkidiki.
No matter which place you choose, we promise that Halkidiki is a great choice for divine summer vacation!
*Insider tip: If you are searching for beaches closer to Thessaloniki, in just 30 minutes drive reach town called Nea Iraklia where you can relax in one of the many beach bars lined up on the shore.
The day is slowly coming to an end. Although there is always what to do in Thessaloniki, it is the time for the most amazing sunset, that even locals eagerly enjoy. Grab some refreshment and lie down on wooden patio in the Port and while looking at heavenly dusk scene sum up impressions of this memorable trip.
And there it is – our detailed 3 days Thessaloniki itinerary. This is the destination that will leave even the most demanding travelers speechless, so, pack your bags and prepare to be amazed, because once you see its true, untouched beauty you will always come back!
In case you need any further information about Thessaloniki, feel free to contact us. We are looking forward to your comments and thoughts about this wonderful city!